We moved north to Fortuna and Bear River Casino. This was a perfect spot for us with lots of sun (when it wasn't foggy,) strong internet and phone, no trees to block the TV satellite, level, and quiet. Oh, and did I mention free? Now these things are not everybody's idea of perfection, but they're all the things on our list. We went in to register and the security guys were very nice. There was a three day limit, although we only stayed two. It wasn't quite free though, since we went in for one dinner and one breakfast, both of which were very good.
We took the car back south on 101 to the Founders Grove exit so we could drive a loop that looked interesting on the map - west through Rockefeller Forest, out to the coast, and back north through Ferndale to home. We had heard from another tourist that it's a 50 mile trip that takes 5 hours. I was sure they were exaggerating. They were not.
Ten thousand acre Rockefeller Forest is the world's largest remaining contiguous old-growth forest of coast redwoods. It's a few miles off the beaten path, down a road not suitable for RVs, but so worth the trouble.
We stopped at the Big Trees day use area because it sounded like the place to go. The road into the parking lot was really scenic.
According to the handout, the average mature coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) are from 200 to 240 feet tall with diameters of 10 to 15 feet. Imagine one in your front yard.
But some exceptional trees get much larger and can live 2000 years. I think we found the granddaddy of them all.
Forget getting a picture. You'll just have to go see it yourself.
At this point, we should have turned around, but instead we kept driving. We continued up and over two passes, and down a valley,
Back to the ocean,
Past Cape Mendocino,
And up and over the Lost Coast Headlands,
Before finally making it back home. Honestly, I don't recommend the whole loop.